For reasons I can’t disclose, we decided a while back not to write about Saul here anymore. And my dissertation is crushing me, so I need to work on it for all of the minutes. I also have mountains of laundry. And I need to reply to people’s thoughtful comments on my last post.
But Bram is sleeping on me right now, and he had an allergic reaction to penicillin yesterday, so I just want to keep him close. And it’s impossible to spread all of my dissertation notes out with a twenty-four-pound sleeping kid on my chest – and it’s for sure impossible to do laundry – so I’ll take the moment to write. Because I am sad today. Just, sad.
The month S was with us was crazy. Like, lives upturned by a tornado that you happen to somehow survive crazy. But being a family of four was amazing. J and I both felt so RIGHT about that.
Now we’ve been a family of three again for over a month, and it is full of good things. More rest. More energy for Bram. For each other. But there’s something missing.
On the one hand, that something is clearly our sweet little red-headed boy. And there’s nothing to be done about that. But on the other, it’s just a fourth person in general. A second kid. It was this way when we lost E too: we were so lost without her little self, but we were also devastated to be, once more, far away from parenting. It’s like that now. It isn’t that I need another child here right now. But it does cause some panic not to know how or when another child might come.
As I see it, we have four options, four possible ways forward. That alone is a thing of great privilege, so I do have some perspective.
- I could carry her or him.
- J could carry her or him.
- We could find an older child in need of adopting who fits our family dynamic.
- Another birth mom could choose us.
Oh, complex life.
None of these feel quite within our reach, and – adopting an older child aside – we’ve done all of them already. There’s none of that magic excitement here about any of this. In its place, there’s low grade anxiety about all of our possible paths. Sigh. We are tired of trying. Trying has been so riddled with grief for us that it just feels exhausting. Having the children doesn’t – well it does, but in a meaningful way – but making or bringing them into our lives? That takes guts that we hardly have these days. We are worn out by the having of kids. Now we just want to have them.
When Saul was here, we got used to the narrative of Irish twins. We came around, and hard, to the idea of raising kids very close in age. We built a whole new narrative, and we still want it. We’re tired of having to let narratives go. Irish twins are probably out now (barring another sudden placement), but sooner feels better than later. I have to (gods help me) go to committee on April 15th. After that I have a WHOLE SUMMER OFF WITH MY BOY. Marvel. Then I’ll adjunct next year. And the year after that, with a little luck, I’ll officially be on the tenure track somewhere. What I’m saying is, this is a good good window. This is as good as it will ever get for me in terms of flexibility.
But we can’t just will another child into being.
So, the possibility of me carrying. And oh, oh, oh how I long to choose this. I have a regular cycle. I will ovulate next week. I’m saying: we could be pregnant next week. But, though no one can know, we’ve been told the chances of another second-, or even a third-trimester loss is about 1 in 3. Which is an overwhelming figure. If we were new at this we’d take those odds, but we’re not. We are veterans. We know what it actually means for a baby to be here one day and not the next. And frankly, I’m not sure how much more child loss we have in us. We are bruised as a couple. As individuals. It would be a monumental risk.
Then there’s J’s body. She’s willing. She’d like a labor that isn’t seventy-one hours. But it was hard on her to carry, and it was hard for me to be the NGP through a pregnancy. It was hard because I still want to do it myself. So there’s baggage there. And anyway, her period isn’t back. And with this kid’s devotion to milk, who knows when it will be. So that’s a holding pattern.
Then there’s an older child. J fell in love with one the other day: a three-year-old boy. But he’s severely physically and cognitively impaired, and we’re just not up to that task. Not severe. Not by absolute choice. Not with both of us working. It’s sad, but there it is.
Then there’s placement. Our profile is still up. A birth mother looked at our book last week. You never know. But being chosen was so much like a lightning strike. How much can we afford to hope to be chosen again? And then there’s the fear of another post-placement loss to be navigated. And the money. We lost a lot of money, which we have no real way of recouping. Even if another birth mother felt drawn to us, it would be an emotional and financial landmine.
So there it is. Anyone want to just step in and solve this for us? We could stand to be mothered through a bit. Or doula-ed. Or papa-ed. Or just friend-ed. Whatever you’ve got. Thanks.